On the Brown Low: They call it Downcity?


Ever wonder what there is to do once you step off Brown’s campus? Curious about what Providence has to offer? On the Brown Low will be your faithful guide! Be sure to check in every week with us, Lily Hartmann and Brianna Lambert, to find out about the best spots around Providence and Rhode Island!

Welcome back blog readers! We are on day 3 of beautiful weather and sun here in Providence, and we couldn’t be happier about it. People are out on the main green and Spring Weekend is just around the corner, making everyone excited that spring has finally sprung. And with the arrival of spring, we have just a couple weeks left of classes this semester and just a few blog posts left (how did we already reach this point??).

This week we’re going to give you another overview of a specific area of Providence: Downcity! Keep reading after the jump to find out what this part of Providence just down the hill is all about.

All the Rhode Island natives fondly know downtown Providence as Downcity. It can be seen as the economic, political, and cultural center of the city, as the downtown sits next to other neighborhoods of Providence like Federal Hill, the West End, and Upper South Providence. With schools like Brown, Johnson & Wales, RISD and Roger Williams all having part of their campuses near the center of Providence, you’ll always find a ton of college students in Downcity making it a great place to explore both during the day and at night. You can also find Mayor Elorza or Rhode Island’s governor downtown as Providence City Hall Is located right in the center of Downcity next to Kennedy Plaza (the central hub of RIPTA) while the state house sits at the edge of the this part of Providence. This closeness makes it super easy to go to class in the morning at Brown and then have an internship in the State House in the afternoon!

In an effort not to bore you with all the history of downtown Providence, I’ll spare you the history of this part of Providence. But, if you’re into New England or colonial history, it’s cool to note that downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places, and has the Westminster Arcade, which was built in 1828 and is the oldest enclosed shopping mall in the U.S.

As the city of Providence tried to revitalize itself, there has been a focus on the arts, especially downtown. WaterFire (see other blog posts) is the most visible markers of the effort to make Providence an artistic center. There is also Providence Performing Arts Center and Trinity Repertory Company that has created a great theater scene, and other organizations like AS220, a non-profit community arts center, that has helped Providence develop its artistic community.

But most importantly for me (and probably a lot of other college students), Downcity is home to some incredible restaurants and cafes that are great for when we want something a little different than what is available on Thayer. The fact that it is so easy to get to and home to great food, art, and things to do at night make downtown Providence a wonderful neighbor to Brown’s campus. Stay tuned for more next week on cool things to see/do/eat in the “Creative Capital”!


Curious about something in Providence that we haven’t covered? Shoot either Brianna or me an email (lily_hartmann@brown.edu or brianna_lambert@brown.edu) and let us know what we should explore in our next post.


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